, Salem, MA

June 20, 2014

Letter: Why no Peabody finalists for chief's job?

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

As a former municipal official who has returned to his hometown to enjoy his graying days, I feel compelled to comment on the appointment of the new Peabody police chief.

As a former town manager in Central Massachusetts, I have had the honor of naming two police chiefs. It is one of the most important decisions any mayor or town manager can make. I wish incoming Chief Griffin and Mayor Bettencourt the best, but I question why no candidates from the Peabody Police Department were named finalists. I also raise the perception caused by naming a ranking officer from Salem at the same time that a retired Salem police chief is serving as interim chief. Not to mention that a former Salem school superintendent is one of the mayor’s top advisers. I trust that the mayor had his reasons.

In Boston, Mayor Menino named Lowell’s Ed Davis as that city’s top cop. But by the same token, Mayor Marty Walsh recently appointed William Evans, who rose up from the ranks of the Boston Police Department, to replace him.

At a time when we talk about “Peabody Pride,” I find it hard to believe that there were not worthy candidates from within the Peabody police. A test of a leader is to inspire the next generation to come forward — hopefully, this is still the case within the Tanner City.

Michael Coughlin